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Bhutan: Collaboration with the Election Commission on Democracy Clubs

Democracy is young in Bhutan with the first multiparty election held as recent as 2008. To support the democratic transition, DIPD supports the Election Commission in Bhutan in introducing a democratic political culture to the youth of Bhutan through democracy clubs in schools.

First round of election to National Assembly in Bhutan, June 2013

Democracy clubs in schools to introduce a democratic culture to the young generation

The Election Commission is in accordance with the 2008 Election Act of Bhutan tasked with “promoting public awareness on electoral matters by conducting education and information dissemination programmes or by any other means”. The Election Commission plays an important role in voter education and broader civic education in Bhutan through different initiatives run by the Election Commission itself as well as support and cooperation with civil society organizations, state agencies and the education system. One of such collaborations is the so-called democracy clubs in schools and other educational institutions.

Goals and objectives

Democracy Clubs were introduced in schools and educational institutions in Bhutan in 2012 to engage and teach the students on their roles and responsibilities in a democratic society. The goals are to:

  1. Educate and inform on the electoral process
  2. Develop and Prepare future citizens in the world of a democratic system and values such as political tolerance that would guide appropriate choices and determine behavior and;
  3. Sustain the positive trends to support democracy

The democracy clubs in other words work as a “Mini Election Commission” in that they organize events and activities to promote an understanding of the election system in Bhutan, the democratic processes and institutions and promote student participation in the decision-making processes of the school/educational institution. Activities could e.g. be mock elections and a schools parliament.

The clubs are run by the schools themselves and composed by a coordinator (teacher/lecturer/instructor), approximately 30 students and an elected student/trainee who will assist in coordinating. The clubs are run with seed funding from the Election Commission.

More information

The political participation and representation of women is a key focal point for DIPD supported initiatives in Bhutan, which also include research on Government policies and the importance of media for a democratic culture.  Besides the Election Commission, our partners include KCD Productions, Centre for Research Initiatives, Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy, and support to the newly established platform for women,

See also: DIPD in Bhutan

Contact Director Bjørn Førde at bjf@dipd.dk or Project Coordinator Mette Bloch Hansen mbhansen@dipd.dk